Thursday, January 28, 2016

Alpha Flight: The Complete Series by Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente

 My accursed backlog of comics!!! I bought this half-double-dip trade before I realized how awful the series was....

 So I reviewed the first collection of this series here, and it was...not good.

 This volume, a trade paperback, is a sort of double-dip on the hardcover, which collected the first 5 issues of the mini-series. The volume must have sold poorly, so Marvel skipped a second hardcover collection and just went for a trade paperback that collects the whole series (0.1 and 1-8). Issues 5-8 continue where I left off in the hardcover, and things pick up slightly as Alpha Flight faces a Canada that has been enslaved by The Master of the World and his minions.

 The characters continue to act totally different than they ever have, using all kinds of slang and speech patterns that are bound to make fans who grew up reading John Byrne's take on the team cringe. (Sasquatch breaks out a Hulk-like "Puny Canadians!", and refers to himself as "Squatch". 'Nuff said!)

 Everyone acts out of character, the plot is rushed and simplistic, the resolution comes way too quick and easy, we get the obligatory "Wolverine, save our sagging sales!" appearance, and I closed the book just as confused as I was when it started. How are these previously dead characters alive? How did they get back together? How did their personalities change so radically? Writers Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente offer no backstory whatsoever, so new readers, and readers like myself, who haven't been keeping up with Alpha Flight, will just have to hang on and hope for the best, because no explanations are to be had within this book. I subscribe to Jim Shooter's "Every comic is somebody's first" theory, which necessitates at least a cursory attempt at filling new readers in. This book is a great example of why there really ARE  no new readers coming into the hobby...It is, for the most part, an incestuous, unfriendly community that preys upon longtime readers, to the exclusion of everyone else. A book like this, which is basically a done-in-one, could have greatly benefited from a few "Story so far" pages, or something, anything, to get new(er) readers up to speed. As it stands, this collection is just a fucking mess that will make virtually no sense to anyone who hasn't been around since the beginning, and those that HAVE been around that long will be wondering where the hell the characters that they know and love went.

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